Universal credit scheme ‘poor value’, says watchdog

06 - 09 - 2013

The government’s welfare overhaul has not achieved value for money and has suffered from ‘weak management, ineffective control and poor governance’, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The damning report said that the introduction of the £2.4bn universal credit system, which aims to consolidate six welfare payments into one, had been damaged by IT failings and poor management by civil servants.

The reform calls for the merging of complex computer systems in benefits offices, HM Revenue and Customs and local councils.

Work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith said he had ‘lost faith in the ability of the civil servants to be able to manage this programme’.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I fully accept, because I could have written this report myself, that the problem was that those charged with putting together the detail of the IT – we rely on people telling us that is correct – did not make the correct decisions. But we intervened to change that and all the programme directors from outside have said we did the right thing. Even the report says this is the right process.’

IT glitches have delayed the national rollout of universal credit following a number of pilots earlier in the year and the watchdog identifies that £34m investment in IT has been written off to date.
Despite the setbacks, Duncan Smith has promised that universal credit will be delivered ‘within the budget and within the timescale.’






Foremans LLP Umberlla
Foremans LLP